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Blood and Marrow Transplant

Research

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Blood and Marrow Transplant program had its beginnings in the 1970s, when Nobel Prize-winner E. Donnall Thomas, MD, and his team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center first developed clinical use of transplants.

Today, the internationally renowned physician-scientists at Fred Hutch and UW Medicine join together and continue to lead with new discoveries related to blood and marrow transplant (BMT) — which ultimately creates more treatment options for patients like you. 

When your care team designs your treatment plan, they will look for any clinical trials that might match your situation. If so, your care team will talk with you about whether you might want to join a particular study and why. This can help you make the decision that’s best for you. If you join a clinical trial, you will see the same physicians and nurses as you would for standard therapy.

Clinical trial A type of research study that tests how well new medical approaches work in people. These studies test new methods of screening, prevention, diagnosis or treatment of a disease. Standard care A treatment or other intervention currently being used and considered to be of proven effectiveness based on past studies. Treatment plan A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A detailed plan with information about a patient’s disease, the goal of treatment, the treatment options for the disease and the possible side effects and expected length of treatment. A treatment plan may also include information about how much the treatment is likely to cost and about regular follow-up care after treatment ends.

How treatment works here

The safest, most effective and most widely accepted therapies for cancer become the “standard of care.” For many patients, these are the foundation of treatment. At Fred Hutch, we provide all standard therapies for all types of cancer. 

Our physicians and researchers are always asking how we can make blood and marrow transplant better. Reduce side effects further. And tell each patient, “Good news. No signs of disease.” This is why we conduct clinical trials. Through BMT studies — which we pioneered nearly a half-century ago — we’re able to offer you therapies that are not available everywhere. A therapy that is now in trials may become the new standard tomorrow.

Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. Side effects A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores. Sign In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. In medicine, a sign is something found during a physical exam or from a laboratory test that shows that a person may have a condition or disease. Some examples of signs are fever, swelling, skin rash, high blood pressure and high blood glucose. Standard care A treatment or other intervention currently being used and considered to be of proven effectiveness based on past studies.
“Important new developments are showing the way to a further improvement in results so that many more patients with otherwise incurable diseases will have a reasonable chance of long survival and cure.”
— E. Donnall Thomas, MD, 1990 Nobel Laureate

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In 2010, a team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center reported a striking improvement in survival for patients who had a bone marrow transplant from the 1990s through the early 2000s. The team’s latest analysis shows that trend has continued. The overall risk of death after transplant dropped 34% between 2003-2007 and 2013-2017.

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Bone marrow The soft, spongy material in the center of your bones that produces all your blood cells, such as white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. Bone marrow transplant The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells. The process of treating disease with high doses of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or both. Because this treatment destroys the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood cells, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cells are given after treatment to help the body make more blood cells.